Tomaquag “Belonging(s)” Blog July 2016
“A close relationship among a group and personal or public effects”
Hello and “Kunoopeam” (Welcome)!
Summer is officially here which signals the start of the powwow season in southern New England. Below is the schedule for several powwows that you might want to check out.
August 13-14 Narragansett Indian Tribe August Meeting Pow-wow, Narragansett Indian Church Grounds, Indian Church Rd, Charlestown, RI Dean Stanton 401-364-1100 x203
August 20-21 Mohegan Wigwam Festival, Fort Shantok, Uncasville, CT (No on-site parking. Shuttle service to field at Mohegan Sun bus lobby and from Thamesview Garage) 1-800-MOHEGAN
August 27-28 Mashantucket Green Corn Pow-wow, Mashantucket Reservation, 1 Matt’s Path, Mashantucket, CT 860-396-2136
September 2-5 Shinnecock Nation Pow-wow, Shinnecock Reservation, Southampton, NY 631-283-6143 firstname.lastname@example.org
As for powwow etiquette, here are a few resources that will make your visit more enjoyable.
Native Peoples Magazine:
This month's guest blogger Dera Silvestre. Dera is a rising sophomore at Boston University. She is studying communications with a focus in advertising. Dera began her internship at the Tomaquag Museum in the beginning of June after being referred by the Rhode Island General Assembly. During her time at the museum, Dera hopes to see first-hand the real challenges and successes that come with advertising. Dera says so far her favorite thing about Tomaquag is the weekly Children's Hour because she gets to learn, listen, and dance alongside the children. Dera will be contributing to the Belonging(s) Blog periodically over the summer.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by Guest Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Tomaquag Museum or any employee thereof. Tomaquag Museum is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by Guest Bloggers.
My first day as an intern at the Tomaquag Museum was spent sorting a seemingly endless heap of beads. I walked into the office that day expecting to do a bit of simple office work and was instead greeted by a massive mountain of sparkling, colorful craft ware. Silvermoon LaRose Tomaquag’s assistant director explained that their bead organization was severely lacking, and asked if I would help to sort them all out.
I wanted to help, but I felt overwhelmed for a moment as I stared at the all of the little jars and boxes. There were so many different kinds of beads, in every color imaginable, each with unique variations. How could we ever classify these in an orderly way? I didn’t know where to begin.
Luckily, Silvermoon understood my confusion and graciously gave me the beginner’s guide to beadwork. Delica, bugle, seed, flatback, and gemstone; though they may have looked similar, the characteristics of each kind of bead made a drastic difference in the outcome of the craft they were being used in. Silvermoon showed me how a delica bead laid differently that a seed bead when used in earrings, and how beads used in chokers varied from those used in bracelets.
As we sorted, we found some finished crafts that had been mixed in with the beads. I had thought that sorting beads were tough, but the intricacy of some of the earrings that we found proved to me that crafting with beads was even more of a challenge. I was amazed by the meticulous precision that went into each and every line of beads. The colorful compositions displayed elaborate artistry.
Though my eyes were beginning to cross by the time we finished, I enjoyed organizing the beads. This task, though troublesome, gave me the chance to appreciate a piece of Narragansett tribal culture. When I began sorting, I saw the beads as simply that – plain ol’ beads. By the end of our sorting, I had realized that each bead was an opportunity for creative expression.
Beadwork is more than beauty; beads offer an interpretation of cultural and historical values.
Thank you Dera for your honest and insightful words. We all look forward to hearing more about your adventures at Tomaquag over the summer!
To our readers, have a great summer. I smell frybread gotta go!
Kutaputush (Thank You),
Kim Peters, Collections Manager
You can visit us at www.tomaquagmuseum.org. Please like us on Facebook.
The Tomaquag “Belonging(s)” Blog, is a monthly conversation dedicated to the happenings, musings of staff, and a peek at the collections of the Tomaquag Museum. We welcome guest bloggers, and topics relevant to Native American Museums and Indian Country, especially those located in the New England area.